HD "Spin Retry" failure (is drive dead)

Hey. Thanks for reading. I have a Dell laptop (XPS m1330) that had hard drive problems about six months ago. I started to notice it making a weird beep noise with a subtle click. (not a grind, which would tell me the drive is gone) After three months of hearing it every once in a while (every other day maybe) I checked up on it, finidng a page that let me listen to failing drive noises. And in the Seagate section I heard that exact noise. (i have said company's drive)

I decided to buy a new drive, choosing a seagate momentus 500gb 7200rpm blah blah.... and I installed it perfectly. (I have several certifications and took every precaution) It has ran fine for the past three months. Recently I noticed on 1 out of 4 boots it failed POST, saying it couldn't find the drive. A restart always got past that. Then last night I got an error about the HD failing. I run Ubuntu Linux and have Gsmartmon, a GUI S.M.A.R.T. checker installed and it popped up, telling me the Spin Retry count was getting bad and that the drive was failing. I tried to tun the standard and conveyance test, but they failed with unknown errors. I'm not happy, as this was a new drive purchased three months ago. My questions are twofold.

#1 What are your thoughts on the computer killing the drive? I have some theories, but nothing concrete. I don't want to buy a new drive and have the laptop strike it down.

#2 I don't actually believe the other drive was failing. In the interim and assuming the dying drive holds out I plan to reinstall the other drive and use my SATA/USB and CD to preserve myself for a short while. I'm not wrong in doing that, am I?

Thanks! I'm gonna go see if my drive is still under warranty. Any ideas are appreciated,
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  1. Had a thought. I was looking at some sites and found that some people say a power issue can cause the "spin retry" error. Still others get an SR error because of clogged fans or excessive heat. I mention this because my laptop always gets hot, and sometimes I see slowdown because of it.

    I'll refine the questions to this. Is there a way of knowing if the S.M.A.R.T. is actually smart and working right? And two, are those people right when they saw heat and power issues can cause this value to show as bad?
  2. I can see power problems (PSU) and bad sata/ide cables causing problems like SR and "UltraDMA CRC Error Count". I don't know if heat can cause SR, but heat and electronics usually don't go well together.

    Download seatools and have it check your drive.

    Can smart be wrong? Possibly, but do you want to take the risk? Backup before it's too late.
  3. I actually ran Seatools and it came through as perfectly fine. I don't know if running Seatools under Wine (Windows Emulator for Linux) would matter, since others have done it. If it's a false positive i'll work around it. And get a better cooling pad.

    I plan to back it up tonight, assuming it holds out. I don't know given this error how long it'll hold out. Hopefully long enough to back up.
  4. You may want to check the smart values every few days and see if the count is changing. If the count hasn't changed, it may have been some kind of external event causing the problem instead of the drive hardware itself.

    Hopefully your drive lives a long life.
  5. one think check the firmware on the drive. seagate had on there larger drive a firmware bug that after a set about of shutdowns the drive became a brick. one thing to check in your bios is to see if there a spin up time out in the bios. with the one out of 4 boots it could be the drive has a sticky spidle that takes one or two trys from a cold boot to spin up to speed or the mb chipset for your hard drive is going bad.
  6. I read online that someone had an issue with a power fluctation that caused an irregular value in Spin Retry. The advice was to keep an eye on it. I backed up my data, but I will follow their tip and keep an eye on it. If it doesn't increase it may be a fluke.

    Seatools did have to fix a few bad sectors, which was also a symptoms described. It's running fine now with no errors. Thanks for the info and i'll keep it under watch.
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